The mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh in Northern India is a multi-religional, multicultural and multilingual state like most other Indian states. Nestled in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas, Himachal is blessed with some of the most spectacular landscapes. The culture of Himachal Pradesh is extremely rich, which is reflected in the day-to-day lives of the local people. Noted for their colorful dresses and distinguished physical features, the people of Himachal Pradesh exhibit a very warm and friendly nature and the 'untouched' simplicity about them constitute an integral part of the beautiful Culture of Himachal Pradesh.
Around 90% of the population of Himachal Pradesh comprises of Hindus. But in some areas there is a majority of Buddhist population, thanks mainly to the nearness of the state to Tibet. The main Hindu communities are the Brahmins, Rajputs, Kannets, Rathis and Kolis. The state also boasts of a large tribal population comprising tribes like Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars, Pangawals and Lahaulis. Agriculture is the main form of livelihood in the state, though many people earn a living by rearing goats, sheep and other cattle.
The culture of Himachal Pradesh is also evident from the languages spoken in the state.Though Hindi is the state language, Pahari - a deviation of Sanskrit and Prakrit is spoken by many people in Himachal. There are many tribal dialects spoken in Himachal Pradesh too - including Chambyali, Pangwali, Lahauli, Kinnauri and others.
The typical house in Himachal Pradesh is constructed of clay bricks, with roofs being made of slate. In the traditional village houses, the lowest storey is used for household cattle, the middle for storing grain, and the top floor forms the living area.
Hinduism is the main religion in Himachal Pradesh. The region being nestled in the Himalayas - the abode of the Hindu God Shiva and Goddess Parvati - there are numerous temples of Shiva and Parvati scattered all around the state.
Music and Dance form a very important part of the Culture of Himachal Pradesh. Both these art forms revolve mainly around religion in Himachal Pradesh. Some of the popular dance forms in the state include Losar Shona Chuksam, Dangi, Gee Dance and Burah dance, Naati, Kharait, Ujagjama, Chadhgebrikar and Shunto.
Another interesting aspect of the culture of Himachal Pradesh is the endless succession of fairs and festivals celebrated in the region. The main festivals are Holi, Dussehra and Diwali, but numerous local festivals are also celebrated with great pomp and grandeur.
Himachal Pradesh is also widely renowned for the beautiful handicraft items produced here. The carpets, leather works, shawls, paintings, metal ware, woodwork and paintings of the land are all evocative of the rich culture of Himachal Pradesh. The much-sought-after 'Pashmina Shawl' is one of the most beautiful handicraft products of the state.